Is HR finally getting its proverbial seat at the table?

Clemenger Group appoints a Chief HR Officer for the first time

Is HR finally getting its proverbial seat at the table?

The role of human resources has only officially been around in New Zealand since 1 April 1999, when the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand was incorporated. Through its short lifespan, the business unit has worked hard to edge its way into the leadership circle, but the group of c-suite HR leaders remains a small one here.

But through COVID, HR teams stood up, they had to be more resilient and reactive than any other function in business and as we emerge from the last two years of disruption and look to the future, CEOs in New Zealand are beginning to understand the full power that HR can bring to the business, something backed by action – more and more Kiwi businesses making the move to elevate the function to the c-suite.

HR, it seems, is finally getting its proverbial seat at the table.

Marketing services giant, Clemenger Group are the latest in a growing cohort of Kiwi organisations that has come to the understanding that a company is no better than the talent it employs.

Read more: Fonterra appoints new HR chief

“The decision to create a Chief HR Officer role at leadership level reflects the huge importance of people to the Clemenger Group, as well as our commitment to sustainable growth in this area,” said Strahan Wallis, CEO at Clemenger Group.  

The company has just appointed Melissa Anderson, to the newly created role of chief human resources officer (CHRO). In her role, Anderson will be responsible for providing a consistent and innovative approach to the strategic leadership of people and culture across Clemenger Group’s New Zealand agencies.

Anderson’s focus will be on supporting Clemenger’s leaders to attract the best talent in the industry, align culture with purpose, and invest in staff wellbeing and resilience.

Anderson holds a Master of Applied Science in Industrial and Organisational Psychology and brings with her more than 20 years of experience in a career that has seen her appointed to HR roles throughout the Warehouse Group’s stable of companies, luxury real estate group Sotheby’s International Realty, and most recently, she held the position of global HR manager for kiwi merino clothing company, Icebreaker.

Read more: Accenture appoints new HR head

Her expertise has ensured leaders are well positioned to effectively lead their teams through growth, organisational development, and cultural transformation.

“Melissa is an exceptionally talented leader and HR professional who comes highly recommended. With her unique mix of skills and experience, I have no doubt about the positive impact she’ll have on our business and people, as well as making a significant contribution to our long-term sustainable growth aspirations,” said Wallis. 

Anderson, who commences her role on August 1 said, “It’s exciting that the Clemenger Group is a meeting of the minds; you can hear the buzz of the creatives and you can see that it is full of motivated people doing what they love. I’m looking forward to supporting the leadership team to continue to push boundaries as well as enabling the agencies to be places where we can all do the best work of our lives.”

“We want our agencies to be places where we do the best work of our lives and Melissa’s appointment will accelerate our progress in this area. I am thrilled that we have been able to attract senior talent of her calibre and look forward to the tremendous impact she will have on our culture, our people, and our processes,” said Wallis.

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